A Brush With Death and Much Discomfort

This blog was silent during the month of July and August. The cause was a medical issue.The event started on July 6, 2016 at 10:00 PM when I went down below to floss my teeth. I discovered that I could not lift my left arm. I returned to the salon hopi…

More rudder & skeg

Added some gussets to the rudder to stiffen it up. Some who’ve seen it on the forums suggested beefing it up. I have the materials so the cost is virtually nil, except for the Stainless Steel welding rods at $4 a pop!Please no comments on welds. I’m no…

A Last Shakedown

Last weekend was the crew’s last shakedown cruise on Red Head. The next time we throw the lines off it will be for real. Things went well as we all are getting more comfortable with her. She’s a pretty girl.Of course, the kids favorite part was the din…

7 Year Report: the voyage

One year ago we were on the great Raja Amput adventure. By this time the organized rally had unraveled totally and we were cruising with our buddy boat.  We had crossed the worst of the weather, and were in the wilds of Saluwasi Island. We had also just gotten the gut wrenching news that our last marina had been invaded by criminals and four of our friends taken hostage. This news and its ripple effect cast a cloud over the remainder of the trip.

The boat we were traveling with had some issues and finally totally broke down. We towed them 140 miles to safe harbor, a long often up current trip dropping down to 2 knots at times. Thirty-six hours later we dropped anchor in Sorong.

From then on the trip was a marvel. Raja Amput is one of the most beautiful places I have seen and the diving is truly world class.  Our last stay was about a week in Weyag Island group. This is a spectacular place; one I would love to return to. We awoke each day to the sounds of Manta Rays jumping about the boat. The crystal clear water and the cornucopia of sea life made for some juicy good diving.

We ran into our old friends from the Komodo, livaboard dive boat, Whicked Diving. They operate half time in Komodo then follow the season up to Raja Amput with the fleet. We had spent time with them in Komodo and were welcomed with open arms. As they did not have guests coming for a while we took one of the boat men with us for four days to be our guide.  It was good to have that local knowledge.

After a mystical week in Weyag, we began the long trip back to the Philippines. The weather was changing and the wind switching back out of the Northeast. This meant we would go “uphill both ways” beating against southerlies going down and northerlies returning. This was one of many of the indicators this rally was thoughtlessly planned.

The Rally brought us many new friends

The Rally brought us many new friends

one of the many white sandy beaches

one of the many white sandy beaches

I saw a weather window and we took off, doing one over nighter which put us into the bay at Davao just after dark after crossing the area most likely to see trouble, we were all on edge. As we entered the bay we were hailed by name on channel 16. Donna was sure it was pirates and I was leery as well. The very military sounding voice said they were Filipino Coast Guard and asked a lot of questions. To insure I was talking to someone in the military I quickly phonetically spelled Furthur: foxtrot, uniform, romeo, tango, hotel, uniform, romeo.  When the guy understood me I was relieve and glad the coast guard was tracking us.

After a long unsettling night, we were back in what had been our peaceful home at Ocean View Marina. Things had changed, barbed wire on the breakwater, M16 totting military guards and a very dampened spirit marked our return.  Gone were the care free days of taking the small boat diving, riding freely about the island on our scooter, and the serenity of quiet nights.

On the trip back home the water supply hose to the dripless shaft log became constricted, causing a horrid noise and smell. I hauled Furthur to inspect and replace. While at it we painted the hull and replace the entire main engine exhaust pipe. The yard did a great job and oh so cheap. Top notch boat yard men cost ten bucks a day!

Repairs done we became eager to get out of this area. Many of our friends had already left. It just was not the same loving place we had known, such a pity.

For the first time in Furthur Adventure history I could not find crew from findacrew. No one wanted to come to this dangerous area and I could not blame them so gave up quickly. Two of our friends from the marina came along for the experience for the 4 day trip to Cebu.

From Cebu Donna and I manned the boat doing long days but no overnight passages, we did our first of several visits to Romblon Romblon, soon to be a favorite. We landed at one of or “homes” Busanga Island and Coron. Again we were welcomed with open arms, seeing old friends again. I met up with a friend writing for a national online diving magazine and enjoyed showing her the wreck.

We took on new crew and I took her and Donna to the wild life refuge park, never tire of this adventure

Our route took us back to Puerto Galera, another familiar place. This time we joined the Puerto Galera Yacht Club and participated in several of their events, great to be back in a yacht club.

The biggest decision to make in SE Asia is where to go for the rainy/typhoon season. For the last several years we have sought sun in the southern hemisphere, Indonesia. This is a long trip which I have done three times, so this year we took the easier path. We got a slip in a berth in Subic Bay Yacht Club an extraordinarily safe place in all weather and hunker in for the rain.

Tito Brian and the kids

Tito Brian and the kids

We have now been tied to a slip for three months, longest time since I left Seattle seven years ago. We have made many friends here and gotten both the boat and the captain back in shape. We are also doing some land trips on our motorcycle. We visited Donna’s home village for their fiesta, and I was given the honor of an invitation to be one of the judges at their “Ms Gay Beauty Pageant” another one of those amazing experiences one has to leave home and comfort zone to enjoy.

Donna and I presenting first prize to this beautiful ladyboy

Donna and I presenting first prize to this beautiful ladyboy

So the second half of my great adventure has turned inward, more personal growth than miles covered, more on that in the next report.

We are enjoying civilization and new friends. Things one takes for granite are treats to a cruiser; going to a movie theatre, great Mexican food, a gym, unlimited shopping.  The stay has been fun and rewarding but I am already eager for the next adventure!

Make Your Dream Your Story

Capt. Brian Calvert

M/Y Furthur


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Angry Pixies

Fusing metals together with lots of angry pixies is fun! I’m no welder mind you. I got a lil’ buzz box inverter stick welder from Princess Auto for small jobs. Decided to make a few of my own ‘special’ modifications to the rudder this morning.Adding tr…

Sept. 24 – Baltimore, MD

Anchorage Marina

“If you think adventure is dangerous, try routine. It is lethal.” –Paulo Coelho

We enjoy Baltimore. There’s so much to do and it seems like there’s some kind of festival or event going on every weekend. One of our favorite things is the Saturday morning farmers market in Fells Point. They have all the regular great produce booths plus arts and crafts, fresh bread, organic cheeses, wonderful food booths and local winery and distillery samples, and best of all it’s a fun place to watch people (and dogs).


Marblehead Adventures: Historical Treasure Trove

Marblehead, originally settled in 1629is a coastal New England town located in Essex County, Massachusetts. Its population was 19,808 at the 2010 census. It is home to the Marblehead Neck Wildlife Sanctuary, Crocker Park, the Marblehead Lighthouse, Fort Sewall, Little Harbor and Devereux Beach. Archibald Willard’s famous painting The Spirit Of ’76 currently resides in Abbot Hall.

A town with roots in commercial fishing, whaling and yachting, Marblehead was a major shipyard and is known as the birthplace of the American Navy. It is also the origin of Marine Corps Aviation. A center of recreational boating, it is a popular sailing, kayaking and fishing destination. Several yacht clubs were established here in the late 19th century, which continue to be centers of sailing.

For perspective, the Mayflower arrived in Plymouth Massachusetts on September 6, 1620. FYI: We visited the Mayflower and Plymouth in September 2011 while on our Great loop adventure.

No this is not the Mayflower

We spent four fun filled days in Marblehead harbor at the town dock and I think we shall start our history lesson here. The town docks also known as Tucker’s Wharf has a plaque showing an amazing history. Originally known a Pedrick’s Wharf, it dates from 1770. From this wharf in 1775, the 12- gun sloop Polly and the four-gun schooner Spring Bird sailed against the British and later, Washington’s Navy schooners Hannah, Franklin, Hancock, Warren and Lee sailed against the British..

Yes, I know it’s upside down

One on the highlights of our Marblehead adventure was visiting Abbot Hall. Abbot Hall, constructed in 1876, was a bequest from Benjamin Abbot who died in Boston in 1872. Abbot stipulated that the building could used for any purpose as determined by the town fathers. Today it serves as the town hall and a historical museum. As shown in the photo below, it is a prominent landmark.

Abbot Hall houses the original painting Spirit of ’76 by American Archibal MacNeal Willard, which was widely reproduced. Of note, he used his father, Samuel Willard, as the model for the middle character of the painting.

Spirit of ’76

Also at Abbot Hall:

Plaque commemorating the Hannah, the first ship in the US Navy
Scale model of an LST (Landing Ship Tank)
Encounter between the USS Constitution and the British frigate Guerriere
A decisive victory for the Constitution
Source of the nickname “Old Ironsides”

.We are in the room with the painting, The Spirit of 76″ Notice the older man in the chair. He is the local historian. I did not get his name. He was chatting with a couple about Marblehead history and we joined the conversation. You can see Kodi listening intently to every word. So did we.

Note: I did not have to take notes. The town fathers published a 48 page book entitled “Celebrating Abbot Hall” containing an explanation of everything in the museum.

Now to the historical district.  

Map of the Marblehead Historical District

The town docks were right in the heart of the district, which made it easily accessible for us. The following is a quote from the Trust For Architectural Easements: “The colonial town has preserved its sense of time and place with picturesque streetscapes of densely-clustered Georgian houses with low-pitch gable or hip roofs, double interior chimneys, and pedimented entries with columns or pilasters. There are many commercial buildings too, such as the Old Town House, one of New England’s oldest, continuously used public buildings. But it is the concentration of Georgian architecture, which reflects the pre-Revolutionary War prosperity from fishing and commerce, that is most striking.”

We agree. Walking through the historical district is like going back in time. In fact here’s another excerpt that captures the mood of the district:

It is said that the houses came first, and then the streets. This is certainly believable when one walks or drives through the old town. Houses face in many directions, front doors are not always in the front, and streets don’t always seem very well thought out. In early times people walked or rode on horseback, following dirt paths. When carts began to be used, the streets were made, working around large rocks, streams and ledge. They don’t seem logical now, but they did at the time.”

House from 1718. See plaque below

Stock photo of historical homes
Ariel photo of the historical district.

A few more things about this wonderful city. Eating was great. We had dinner a Five Corners Kitchen, Cafe Italia Trattoria and Maddie’s Sail Loft. All were excellent. Getting in an out of Marblehead, however, was a difficult. You have to drive through Salem and there is a two to three mile stretch that takes an hour to get through and there is no alternative route. The locals confirmed that “Yes, it’s a bear every day, especially when school is in session.”

Finally, I have to comment on the town dock’s provision for dingies. Notice that it is low tide and how the dingies are secured. If you look close astern you will notice a heavy weight on a pulley. This arrangement allows the boats to maintain there position as the tide rises and falls. Very clever.

Written by Les.

Newfoundland to Nova Scotia

From Newfoundland we made a 150-nm, 24-hour passage to Bras d’Or Lake in Nova Scotia. In addition to looking for a good weather forecast for the run across Laurentian Channel between Newfoundland and Nova Scotia, we also needed to time our arrival at the entrance channel, Great Bras d’Or. The current at the narrow north…


Envoy is currently anchored off the Greek mainland village of Parga in the northern Ionian with our Australian friends Simon and Bronwyn aboard.

After a cruise of about 65 miles taking 12 hours from Santorini in great conditions seeing only a few ships on the horizon along the way we arrive at the fascinating lagoon of Ormos Spinalongas in north-east Crete. This is a perfectly sheltered bay measuring about two miles long by half a mile wide with very shallow depths ranging from about three to eight metres. It’s entrance at the northern end is protected by the island of Nisos Spinalongas though the steep surrounding hills regularly produce strong katabatic winds lifting sheets of spray and producing a small but lively chop.

Our Greek courtesy flag has been battered by recent continuous strong winds. It’s upside down by the way.

The small village of Plaka and larger one of Elounda are interesting to wander around and good for obtaining supplies.

Plaka is a beautiful village

Off Plaka we have to do a double take when we see this water-powered hovering device

Spinalongas island viewed from Plaka

Another view of Spinalongas

Apart from several tranquil anchorages the area’s highlight is the island with its Venetian Castle built in 1579 on the site of an older fortress and which later withstood a 25 year siege by Turkish invaders in the 16th century. Eventually the Venetian and Genoan defenders were allowed to leave while about six hundred Cretan co-defenders were enslaved. The castle is an interesting example of how several protective walls were commonly built so that defenders could retreat to higher protected ground if one wall was breached.
In 1903 the island became an infamous leper colony where Greek lepers from all stratas of society were rounded up by the police and forced to live it closed in 1957. Lepers were left isolated in appalling conditions mostly to fend for themselves and there are many touching stories of lepers helping each other as well as nurses, a priest and a doctor assisting them, ignoring the very real risk of contracting the disease. Despite the hardships the lepers provided for themselves by cultivating the land and fishing. Some fell in love, married and had children.
Anything leaving the island had to be sterilised in a high pressure steam chamber, even the money the lepers used to buy provisions from merchants who stayed on the beach outside the walls to avoid contact.

Doug and Laurie investigate a ruined house

More ruined houses

Our guide explains where the laundry tubs were used to wash contaminated clothes and dressings

Our enthusiastic guide shows us a macabre old stone building where a deep pit contains bones of the dead while their skulls are stacked on shelves around the walls. It’s often worth paying a guide (in this case 30 Euros – about $50) to get a full understanding of what you’re seeing.
The island is certainly eerie and although unlit at night radiates an unusual luminescent glow.
Locals call Spinalongas the island of the living dead.

Little mention has recently been made in the Blog on this subject simply because fortunately there have been few issues for several weeks now – just routine scheduled maintenance.

Fresh seafood is plentiful and in Eloundra we have a delicious shrimp salad served with a local mayonnaise

Stunning view of waterfront from the restaurant

2016-24 Port McNeill to Comox

Tuesday-Wednesday, September 20-21, 2016:  Family Delivery CrewWe met our son Ryan from Washington DC, at Victoria International in the afternoon following a slight disappointment with the Orbitz reservations.  This was for a National one-way…